FEB 07 2012

Spot your addiction and enjoy life.

Exploring attitude, Learn to explore, Lifestyle Information Overwhelm

Are these modern-world-distractions preventing you from enjoying life? You know your cell phone, your Ipad, your mailing list and your followers in Facebook suck loads of your time, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t mean they can control your life at a point where is not longer YOUR life, or could they?

Spot your addiction and enjoy life.

click to enlarge

No item is good or bad per se, it depends on the use we give to the item. We all know that – although sometimes we wonder what good could a Tsar Bomba do-, but that’s not the entire story. Some good uses can turn bad if we overdo them.

Communication technology, multimedia and social network tools do great things for us; they make our life easier and more interesting but, sometimes, too much pepper may spoil a filet mignon. That is true when we become addicted to the benefits the gadget provides.

At this point you might be telling to yourself something like: “I know cell phones may produce addiction to some confused, lifeless, money-driven creatures, but not to me. I am waaaay too far from there” And, of course, you are probably right.

The question is: how far?


The junkie image.

The thing is: you don’t have to wander the streets like the zombie version of Mr. Bean to fulfill the addict profile. Many addicts look completely normal and yet their addiction is controlling their life entirely.
Ultimately, maybe you are not an addict but you really believe you can’t live without your blackberry. It doesn’t matter the label you choose, you are biased: and you can’t enjoy life from the wrong perspective.  You can’t enjoy anything if you can’t recognize it.


Beware of instant rewards.

This is a key factor: for anything –from alcohol to checking your traffic – to become addictive, it has to provide instant rewards. If something takes some effort or time to do – like writing an exquisite article, for instance -, it may even produce the same level of reward, most likely, it won’t become addictive.

You have to keep your eyes open because the rewarding effect may be difficult to spot sometimes. What reward do I get by spending three hours a day text messaging? You may ask. Answer is: the same social rewards you get in a social meeting: recognition, reassurance and entertainment.

The other characteristic to be aware of is the aftertaste. Once the effect of the instant reward is due, almost always appears a feeling of discomfort. It can be guilt or hangover, wariness or stress. Recognize that feeling in you and you will spot your addiction.


You found the mice, now what?

Severe addictions are not cartoons. They must be treated properly by specialized professionals, but we are not talking about those here. We may face addiction to modern gadgets successfully with some character and good planning.

There are many techniques to deal with them but they will always be about controlling the habit or completely eliminating it. Limiting the habit to a schedule could often work good enough to control it.

For tougher nails, it could we wise to replace the bad habit for another with similar or stronger rewarding action. In that case, you must review your present and past habits and recall those that brought you the best rewards and benefits.

If the symptoms persist, consult your physician.

There are 9 comments

  • Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA on said:

    Great post, Gustavo.
    But, using the concept of instant rewards will blind some to the fact that they are addicted. Because the rewards are not the ones they consider. Sometimes, in our fear of success/which also means fears of failure- we consider the use of diversions. This affords us the excuse of being busy- and we are not- we are just languishing in our addictions.

    Stay crutch-free and grow you!
    Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA recently posted..Stand up and Cheer

  • Lisa Kanarek on said:

    I think some people are addicted to technology and won’t admit it. Those are the ones who can’t sit through a meal without texting or checking e-mail. As with other things, moderation is key.
    Lisa Kanarek recently posted..5 Ways to Show Your Clients You Care

  • Suerae Stein on said:

    Great post, Gustavo. I just heard that it is harder for people to quit Facebook than it is to quit smoking – shocking! Especially since Facebook hasn’t been around that long! I worry more about the kids today. They grow up in the gadget environment and are addicted before they leave high school. It’s frightening! ~ Suerae
    Suerae Stein recently posted..My Healing Process . . . Part 1

  • Andra Watkins on said:

    Gustavo, this is a great post. Sometimes, I go out and leave my phone on purpose. We are so wired these days. It is great to ‘get lost.’ One of the best ways to ‘get lost’ is to be unreachable and out of contact.

    And, Facebook is making me want to never go there anymore. Now, I’m having to fight an addiction to Pinterest……. ;)
    Andra Watkins recently posted..With a Little Help From My (Architect) Friends

  • Cathy Miller on said:

    Love the post, Gustavo. I think I was one of the last living beings who purchased a cell phone. Now, I have my smartphone, but I still have not gone the route of games, apps and such. Heck, I rarely text on it. It’s phone calls and emails.

    I spent over 20 years living by the ocean. It always disturbed me to see people walking along the beach, texting away. They were not even looking at the view. I hope I never get so addicted to technology that I forget to enjoy the view.

    Thanks for a great post, Gustavo.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Better Silence Than Bad Writing

  • Kristen on said:

    It seems like technology and social media sneak up on you and overwhelm you. I am not sure how I have come to use as much technology as I do, but between work and home I find myself always in reach of an email account plus at lease one form of social media. On a recent trip, I was out of touch via email and social media for about seven days. It took me two weeks to prepare and two weeks to recover!
    Kristen recently posted..Sleepless in New Delhi: The Stress of Jet Lag

  • Gustavo| Frugal Science on said:

    Thanks everybody for your great comments! We are having connection difficulties at the island right now. I will be replying your comments as soon as we fix them.
    Gustavo| Frugal Science recently posted..Spot your addiction and enjoy life.

  • Anthony Caruso on said:

    Very true – I find myself using FB to procrastinate sometimes and have to catch myself. Great ideas to help! Thanks!
    Anthony Caruso recently posted..Thindulge is going gluten free!!!

  • Lisa on said:

    Oh, yes, this spoke to me. I have been working to release my addictive tendencies through the years. I’ve had addictions to work, exercise (even yoga), meditation, email, social media, and shopping at times. I resonate with what Roy wrote above in the comments. I’m trying to say I’m “busy,” so I don’t have time to follow my passions. It sucks and I want to kick my own ass, trying to get it in gear. Not such a good approach. I’m grateful ’cause I don’t use a smart phone…I guess that is one bonus. :) But, I like my computer :D and, well, trying to zone out from stress on-line…ugh.
    Lisa recently posted..The Patience Practice

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    Hi there! I’m Gustavo and Frugal Science is about helping you rediscover your exploring nature and enjoying the benefits of looking life in a different way. Anybody can become a true explorer –it’s our nature-, all you need is a mindful attention and some frugal science.
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